History Is Not Mine
Paradise Row Gallery, London
April 19 - Jun 01, 2013
“All warfare is based on deception”
The Art of War, Sun Tzu
Paradise Row is pleased to present History Is Not Mine, the first UK solo exhibition of works by Mounir Fatmi
The immediate subject of History is Not Mine is censorship, broadening out into the underlying theme of Fatmi’s work - meaning and its deformation by power. His work is driven by the impossible desire to evade all forms of indoctrination.
Across a wide range of media, Fatmi attempts this through the construction of highly tactical visual spaces and linguistic games that identify and foreground the violent operations of the forces of capital, politics and religion to dominate thought and language. These aestheticized and elegantly seditious provocations are designed to generate skepticism and criticality.
The show's title plays on the title of a group exhibition, History is Mine staged last year in Toulouse in which a video work by Fatmi, Technologia which combines verses of the Qu’ran with elements inspired by Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs, was removed from display following violence and rioting from certain local elements in response to the work. Shortly after Paris's Institut du Monde Arabe removed Fatmi’s video piece Sleep Al-Naim from an exhibition on Arabic creativity fearing the work would incite controversy.
Sleep Al-Naim will be shown in this exhibition for the first time in the UK. A six-hour video installation that insidiously inhabits the form of Andy Warhol's experimental film Sleep of poet John Giorno asleep, Sleep Al-Naim depicts Salman Rushdie (rendered in 3D digital animation) asleep. In the context of the threat to Rushdie’s life following the 1989 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, Rushdie’s sleep becomes ambivalent, a purgatorial middle-point between life and death.
Alongside Sleep Al-Naim, Fatmi presents a major new installation Without History, formed from a series a jump poles (typically used in equestrian competition) inscribed with excerpts from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and installed so as to impede the movement of visitors to the gallery, as well as new works from his well-known series Circles and his series of sculptures deploying Qu’ranic phrases laser cut into circular saw blades.